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Getting Fit without Losing Muscle?


Hey guys, so this seems to be a topic that gets ignored a lot. How can someone in the 8-12%bf range with a decent amount of muscle get fit without actually losing muscle? Thing is we always discuss burning fat but never our actual level of fitness and stamina, is this even possible?


Yes....look at most athletes.


define getting fit?

is that shedding fat? gaining strength? gaining mass? increasing work capacity? increasing recovery abilities? increasing endurance? or some combination of all those......


strangest question ever.


Getting fit is a very broad way of putting it I guess. What I mean is being able to sustain a raised heart rate without being gassed out like running, cycling, rowing etc



what do you consider" a decent amount of muscle?"

of course its possible.


What does "get fit" mean if you are already lean?

8-12% body fat is NOT "unfit".


Most of those sports you selected are pretty low heart rate based sports outside of competition. Since 99% of people that claim they run, cycle, and row don't actually compete, that doesn't fit into your definition.


I'm assuming you mean "fit" in a work capacity context. Try adding sprints, burpees/burpee pullups, and high rep 75-115# thrusters into the end of your routine.


Lol maybe I'm just brain farting, but whenever someone with muscle decides to say go for regular jogs everyone starts saying No you will lose your muscle. My definition of fitness isn't necessarily to do with losing body fat either but your heart! Someone could manipulate their weight training and diet so that they are lean, but they wouldn't have a healthy heart.


Of course they could.


Still pretty broad/general definition. What about duration? Intensity? Competitive sprinters and marathoners both run but and would both be considered "fit" relative to their events, but one typically carries much more muscle than the other. A heavyweight mens rower will generally be heavier and more muscular (especially upper body) than either, and again uber-fit, in terms of rowing. I would say that, generally, as the distance/duration of an activity increases, the greater a liability muscle-mass becomes. This is pretty much common sense I think.

That said, a guy with a "decent amount of muscle" (depending on your definition)could very reasonably expect to run 2500m (1.5 miles) in under 10 min without dropping any muscle, if he trained intelligently. This would be considered reasonably aerobically fit, in terms of of non competitive athletes.


Seriously. Show me someone with respectable mass and 8-12% body fat that isn't fit??? Jesus.

For some reason our society has a fucked up notion of "fitness" based on the retarded aerobics craze of the 70s that still hasn't died down.

I used to love rehearsing for dance shows in college when the girls who bragged about their 5 mile runs and triatholons would be winded and I was still able to carry on a normal conversation thanks to my high intensity strength training.


I'm pretty sure I get what you're saying, and I've been in that position myself, not wanting to do any cardio as it would make me lose any size I have, but then I realised basically it was just an excuse for being a pussy (I'm sure there are exceptions, as there are with most things, but I'm talking about in my case and that of everyone I can think of who has ever had the same attitude).

I know people way bigger and at the same time, fitter, which blows the theory that you can't be both to pieces. As several people have pointed out, look at athletes (i.e. sprinters, rugby players, hockey, nfl, etc.)

Having said that, there is a right and wrong way to go about it: if you start running long distance regularly, yes you will most likely lose quite a bit of muscle. So keep the majority of your cardio very short and high intensity, keep lifting heavy, eat to support your goals and you'll be fine. Also be creative, don't just use sprints but include a variety of other exercises as well such as pulling and pushing a prowler (if you don't have one I have found a car makes a pretty good substitute), farmers walks, fireman carries with a training partner, heavy weight circuits, sandbag work, etc.

(Final addition, by the sound of it you are not looking to become efficient at one particular sport but to develop more all-around fitness/work capacity/gpp, in which case the sprint-type training will take care of most things but you may feel the need to include a little longer distance training, this is fine but just do it every now and then, rather than regularly enough to negatively affect your physique).

Hope this helps?


I like to think that a resting pulse rate of 60bpm or less is a good indicator of heart fitness.

As for leanness, strength, and endurance, these qualities are sport specific. I don't expect a tennis player to have the same requirements as a football player or even a swimmer.